Each year, the red kettle bells have barely stopped ringing when we start hearing the question, “So how did we do?” I thought it might be fun to show you a little of your Noble County history. I came on board in November 2012 and my predecessor took care of that year’s kettle campaign. The total was $17,082.26.

I was a rookie so our team sat down with the Salvation Army liaison and director and learned all that we could do if we made the most of these funds in Noble County. That inspired us to change up a few things and it worked! In 2013, the total was $21,610.18.

In 2014, we added the Take-A-Day Challenge and the total was $33,169.02. We told you more about the relationship between the Salvation Army and Common Grace Ministries and in 2015 the total was $35,762.67. Then $36,225.62 and then $40,024.01. We were thrilled to break the $40,000 mark.

The year 2018 was the long year, with 32 days to ring and you gave $47,000! Your giving averaged $1,468.75 per day! Noble County was named the number one Salvation Army Service Extension Unit in the state.

The year 2019 was a short season at only 26 days. Based on the $1,470 per day of 2018, I set the goal at $38,220. You blew away that goal by giving an average of $1,635.50 per day for a grand total of $45,523.10! You never cease to amaze us!

We had a total of 24 doors covered by 19 Take-A-Day Challenger groups. That means those groups agreed to schedule the whole day for one door in one of our ringing locations. Some groups took more than one day and more than one location. We put all of their names into a computerized random drawing with one chance for every day and every location they schedule.

This year’s random winner is United Way of Noble County. Congrats! They worked hard to make sure all of their hours were covered. Within those groups, we track kettle totals and the group with the highest kettle at one location in one day has the honor of receiving the traveling trophy. It’s a red “kettle bell” of course. You know, like the kettle bell at the gym. Last year, the Ligonier P.U.L.S.E. team won the inaugural trophy with $999.28. They said, “Bring it!” and First Christian Church did! They have stolen the trophy with a kettle total of $2,679.78 on Dec. 12. That’s a pretty high bar for next year’s groups who might want to snatch that trophy. Way to go, First Christian! I’ll see you soon to bring the traveling kettle bell.

The Take-A-Day Challenge has been a tremendous help. They scheduled 264 hours and raised $15,005.40 this year. They averaged $56.84 per day. We had a total of 1,677.50 hours to fill this year. If every hour were filled at $56.84, we would have raised $95,349.10! The Take-A-Day Challengers are showing us how very important it is to fill those hours all over the county.

Here’s the recap from each location:

Kendallville: Kroger $13,804.30; Walmart Pharmacy $7,928.40; Walmart Grocery $10,877.82 for a total of $32,610.52 for Kendallville.

Rome City: $5,509.52 with Secret Santa appearing once again with a single $3,000 gift. We love you Secret Santa, whoever you are.

Ligonier: $3,211.93.

Albion: $1,191.13 Welcome back, Albion. We hope to see more of you next year. Let’s hear those Cougars make some noise along with the Knights and Chargers.

To Ellyne Sollenberger, Skip Rash, Rev. Jerry Burgduff, Rev. Bret Frymier, and Rose Benjamin: There is no way this would all happen without you working so hard every year. To every ringer and every person who put money in the kettles, you are the heart of Noble County. Thank you and God bless you!

From single gifts of $3,000 and $2,000 to the pennies put into the kettle by tiny fingers, you are changing the lives of your neighbors and we cannot thank you enough. Every campaign has inspirational moments. This year, for the first time, a family took the Take-A-Day Challenge. What an amazing thing for a family to do for their neighbors! Thank you, Abigail Creigh and the Atz Pack. You are an inspiration to Albion and our whole county by being a family helping families.

Now the work begins at Common Grace Ministries along with the Salvation Army to put these funds to work right here in Noble County as we work hard to keep local funds local.

Happy New Year, Noble County!

The Rev. Angie Kidd is the executive director of Common Grace Ministries Inc. and the Noble County extension coordinator for Salvation Army Service.

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